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Mobile Home expansion put on hold by Nevada County officials

Nevada County officials held off taking action on a application to expand the Forest Springs Mobile Home Community south of Grass Valley, citing concerns about density.
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Nevada County officials held off taking any action on a application to expand the Forest Springs Mobile Home Community south of Grass Valley, citing concerns about density.

“We need to look at the approach being taken,” said Kimberly Hunter, a Nevada County senior planner, after a public hearing last week before the Nevada County Planning Commission. “We need to come back and take another look.”

Several neighbors of the proposed expansion testified at the hearing Thursday they were concerned about the impacts of increased density to water runoff, septic capacity, water in nearby wells and tranquility of the environment.



“Our thought is that the expansion project is too large,” said Steven Pickard, who has lived on Lady Jane Road adjacent to the proposed expansion site since 1978, according to written testimony submitted to the county. “The water runoff could be destructive to our property.”

The application, by owners Forest Springs LLC, calls for an additional 62 mobile home spaces at the current 310-unit, 55-and-over community to the expansion site east of Highway 49 and north of Lady Jane Road.




Owners, represented by Andy Cassano of Nevada City Engineering, were seeking to transfer residential density units from another property they own to the site to be developed.

The proposed 21.62-acre expansion site is currently zoned residential-agriculture with a density of one home per 1.5 acres, or a total of 14 units. Forest Springs LLC also owns a separate 6-acre parcel, zoned residential-2, which allows for up to 37 units.

Under the proposal, the owners would transfer 36 of the 37 units from the smaller parcel to the 21.62-acre site, for a total of 50 units. An additional 12 units would be allowed under a state law and county code provision that grants a 25 percent bonus for senior housing, resulting in a total 62 units. The one unit left on the small property is a “well-established single family dwelling,” according to Hunter.

On the 21.62-acre site, housing units would be restricted 13 acres since the remaining eight acres are sloped, Hunter added.

Nevada County’s general plan does allow — and even encourages — such transfers, but the county does not have any ordinances in the books on how such a transfer should be done, Hunter said.

“You don’t see these transfers very often in Nevada County,” she said.

Cassano was out of the office Friday and could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hunter said the property owner has done a drainage study and is proposing construction of a drainage swale. The mobile home park has its own community septic system, and it is on Nevada Irrigation District water.

Pickard, meanwhile, whose home is at the bottom of a downslope, said drainage in the area is a continuing problem. He submitted photos to the county of water runoff from a December 2013 storm after a recent widening project on Highway 49 had been completed. After the construction, water runoff “washed out our road four times and flooded our property,” he said.

Pickard also objected to a provision to add a chain link fence along Lady Jane Road the length of the project. He said the fence would be “an eyesore and (would) also impede the natural flow of wildlife.”

Hunter said the timeline to revisit the application was left open to allow for more study of options available.

To contact Staff Writer Keri Brenner, email kbrenner@theunion.com or call 530-477-4239.


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